Jennifer LoveGrove Watch How We Walk

ISBN 13: 9781770411272

Watch How We Walk

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When Emily was a little girl, all she wanted to be when she grew up was a Full-Time Pioneer; in her Jehovah’s Witness family, the only imaginable future is a life of knocking on doors and handing out Watchtower magazines. But Emily starts to challenge her upbringing. She becomes closer to her closeted uncle, Tyler, as her older sister, Lenora, hangs out with boys, wears makeup, and gets a startling new haircut. After Lenora disappears, everything changes for Emily, and as she deals with her mental devastation she is forced to consider a different future.

Alternating between Emily’s life as a child and her adult life in the city, Watch How We Walk offers a haunting, cutting exploration of disfellowshipping,” proselytization, and cultural abstinence, as well as the Jehovah’s Witness attitude towards the worldlings” outside of their faith. Sparse, vivid, suspenseful, and darkly humorous, Jennifer LoveGrove’s debut novel is an emotional and visceral look inside an isolationist religion through the eyes of the unforgettable Emily.

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About the Author:

Jennifer LoveGrove is the author of the poetry collections  The Dagger Between Her Teeth and  I Should Never Have Fired the Sentinel. Her writing has been published widely, and she studied creative writing at York University. She divides her time between downtown Toronto and rural Haliburton. Watch How We Walk  is her first novel.

From Publishers Weekly:

Poet LoveGrove's debut novel takes an engaging, often heartbreaking look at the effects that a strict religious upbringing can inflict on children. Emily grows up as a Jehovah's Witness, going on door-to-door calls with her parents and older sister, Lenora, and sometimes her fun-loving, rule-breaking Uncle Tyler. Not allowed to associate with worldly children, her only rebellion is reading Trixie Belden mysteries in secret. Lenora, however, openly defies the elders, eventually disappearing and leaving a letter behind for Emily with the truth about their community. As Emily grows up and faces the outside world, she becomes a cutter, compulsively incising the letter L into her skin. There's blisteringly gorgeous prose in the novel, and the first-person chapters are riveting. However, constant changes of tense are jarring, and the use of dashes instead of quotation marks to set off dialogue comes across as a call for attention. The novel is potent enough to evoke anger at the fact that some children are being raised in a culture of abuse, and at the refusal of adults inside or outside the religious framework to intervene; but a weak structure causes the novel to fall short of its potential. (Oct.)

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